Lady Grey's Study

A calm, cosy, place for contemplation

A calm, cosy, place for contemplation

Updated 30 July. Following government guidance, the castle and gardens at Hillsborough Castle are now open Thursday-Sunday. Please read our visit information.

When

Open


Ticketing information

Explore Lady Grey's Study as part of a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.


Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Buy Hillsborough Castle and Gardens tickets

Lady Grey’s Study was created in 1936, two years after the disastrous fire that destroyed many parts of the original building.

The study had formerly been a servants' staircase to Lady Downshire's Bedroom, Boudoir and Dressing Room, and a Reading Room for the Library next door (now the State Drawing Room).

Secretary of State Mo Mowlam was very fond of this peaceful room. It was used as the Sinn Fein office during the peace talks that culminated in the Hillsborough Agreement of 2010.

It was also the scene of a secret meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush before strategic talks on the progress of the newly started invasion of Iraq in 2003.

This space is named after Lady Grey of Naunton, Esmé Burcher, wife of Lord Grey of Naunton, who was the last Governor of Northern Ireland.

Highlights of Lady Grey’s Study

Evelyn Grace, Marchioness Of Downshire (1918)

Evelyn was the second wife of the 6th Marquess of Downshire. Colonel Repington, an intimate friend of Lady Downshire, commissioned this portrait in 1919.

The Colonel wrote a letter thanking the artist, Philip De Laszlo, for allowing him to attend the first sitting of the portrait, stating: "It seemed to me the work of a magician... that you could have transferred to canvas in one short half hour such an extraordinarily perfect representation of that charming woman."

A group of visitors wander around Lady Grey's Study, the last room on the tour of Hillsborough Castle. A crystal chandelier hangs above the room which features a soft teal wallpaper, hand-block printed with a flower design. A large ornate gold mirror hangs above a white marble fire place and painted portraits of the royal family and Hills family hang on the walls. The room also features comfy sofas and chairs. A round table with white orchid is visible in the foreground.
Lady Grey's Study with green hand-block-printed wallpaper and golden damask curtains. A green sofa and two striped armchairs from the Royal Collection are situated around a white marble fireplace with grey surround. A chandelier hangs above.

HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh (c1985-6)

Her Majesty The Queen commissioned this pair of portraits in 1985. The painter, Rodrigo Moynihan, was first commissioned to paint the Queen, when Princess Elizabeth, in 1946. Both the Queen and Prince Philip are presented in casual clothing against an abstract woodland foliage background.

Other notable sitters for Moynihan during the same period include former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the artist Francis Bacon.

A new collection of preparatory sketches

A new collection of preparatory sketches displayed in Lady Grey’s Study of official portraits of key figures involved in the Peace Talks at Hillsborough Castle.

A collection of preparatory sketches of official portraits which now hang in institutions all over the world are displayed together in Lady Grey’s study.

A range of styles and types of work are included, but the works are all connected by the sitters who attended Peace Talks at Hillsborough Castle.

Hillsborough Castle has been at the heart of Northern Ireland’s political life for decades; not only have many political leaders, local, national and international, visited Hillsborough, it has also been the chosen space for peace negotiations that have defined modern political history. Many of these high-profile individuals are included in the portraits displayed here; British Prime Ministers, Presidents of the United States, Taioseachs of Ireland, Secretaries of State and many local politicians from across the political spectrum take their place here side by side.

The art of portraiture

Portraiture is both an extremely public and highly personal art form. Many of the final works related to these preparatory studies and maquettes were commissioned and displayed by museums and galleries of international significance.

This hang explores the intimate nature of the artists’ methods. Amongst the works included are drawings and sketches made during sittings or in the preparation of a piece, photographs of a formal portrait at a number of stages, various studies of figures and groups, a painting of a room where a sitting took place, a maquette for a large bronze and a cast of a sitter’s hands.

The South Terrace, looking south-east across the terrace flagstones towards the small topiary trees and summer shrubs. The Greek Temple is just seen through the castle portico in the background on the left of the image.
Things to see

Discover the ornamental lawns, meandering waterways, peaceful woodlands and picturesque glens that surround Hillsborough Castle.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in gardens admission (members go free)

The Glen at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, showing a stream running through a woody green area under a blue sky
Things to see

Explore this intimate corner of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, which is full of colour and intriguing details.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Parent and child looking a paper garden map while seated on concrete steps
Families Things to see

Make the most of your time in these stunning royal gardens with one of our new garden trails.

Thursday-Sunday

Hillsborough Castle

The trails take 30 minutes to an hour

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Historic Royal Palaces retail product - drinking glasses, books and deer cushion

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